Project Details

Title: Urban-rural partnerships in metropolitan areas
Priority: 1: Innovation and the knowledge economy
Theme: Innovation, research and technology development

Type of intervention

Type of intervention: 1: Regional Initiative Project
Mini-programme: No
Duration: 1st Jan 2012 - 31st Dec 2014
Website: http://www.urma-project.eu


Total budget: €1,758,821.70
ERDF contribution: €1,371,300.63

Lead partner

HafenCity University Hamburg
Überseeallee 16
20457, Hamburg

  • Click for contact details
    • Contact Person: Prof. Dr. Jörg Knieling
      Phone: +49 40 42827 4519
      Fax: +49 40 42827 4516

Project summary

The URMA-project promotes urban-rural partnerships as a tool to strengthen the potential for generation and transfer of innovation in European metropolitan areas and their surrounding hinterlands. The basis was laid during a preceding project, integrated in the action programme “Pilot Project of Spatial Planning” sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development. In this project regional disparities were tackled and the effectiveness of regional development policies was improved by new governance structures for large scale urban-rural partnerships (triple helix approach). Balancing regional disparities and being competitive at the same time are challenges for all regions in Europe and therefore the project theme is of high interest to many other metropolitan areas.

The project’s objective is therefore to utilize the urban-rural cooperation schemes developed and tested in the above-named project and in other partner regions in the field of innovation

generation and transfer within metropolitan areas and regional urban-rural networks. The PP will identify different types of regional innovation systems, exchange experiences on urban-rural cooperation and finally help to improve the effectiveness of regional and local policies in the field of innovation. This objective enables an establishment of a regional, national and European policy agenda for a sustainable development of metropolitan areas. Moreover, it will result in lasting and balanced positive effects on the competiveness of metropolitan areas, also in global terms. The key advantage to this approach is that urban and rural areas will benefit on equal terms and that cities will not gain competitiveness on the expense of urban areas and vice-versa.

The participating nine PP from six EU member states (BG,DE,ES,IT,NL,PL) cover a wide EU area and are directly involved in the improvement of regional policies. The consortium is homogenous and diverse at the same time, comprising

differently shaped urban-rural regions, from strong interconnected metropolitan areas to smaller city regions. The mix of larger and smaller, well experienced and less experienced PP will open up new possibilities of learning and knowledge transfer and creates an added value for all regions. URMA is mainly focused on the exchange of experiences through an array of conferences, public and project internal workshops, study visits in all regions and 3 pilot implementations. The cooperation will be supported by a common toolkit to identify and describe best practices, a concise dictionary and a Good Practice Guide. Furthermore recommendations for the whole project partnership with regard to regional innovation systems and for the future European cohesion policy regarding urban-rural partnerships will be developed. All in all, the project will raise the awareness for the need and potential of urban-rural partnerships – a new approach to strengthen innovation in European metropolitan areas.

Project achievements

Overall objective of URMA is to promote urban- rural partnerships as a tool to strengthen the potential for innovation in European metropolitan areas. Therefore, subobjectives are: I) Interregional exchange of experiences on urbanrural cooperation/partnerships II) Identification of different types of urban-rural partnerships plus regional innovation systems, taking into account good practices & III) Improving the

effectiveness of regional & local policies in the field of innovation generation within urban-rural partnerships. In September 2012 a 1st Study Visit & Public Seminar has been organised in Szczecin. On the 1st day, in course of a Study Visit the participants were informed about the ambitious programme to improve the Szczecin-Świnoujście seaway& the cross-border Metropolitan Region Szczecin.The Public Seminar

addressed the theme ‘Models to redefine the century old symbiosis of large cities and rural areas under the conditions of the 21st century’ from a variety of perspectives.

In Dec, a 2nd Study Visit & a Public Seminar has been organised in Karkow in order to exchange experiences and learn about conditions and determinants of urban-rural cooperation in Krakow Metropolitan Area (KMA). The 1st day saw a study visit around the commune of Niepołomice, located just 25km east of Krakow centre. Main aim of the visit was to learn about the practical dimension of cooperation between predominantly rural municipalities&Krakow. On the 2nd day, the public seminar aimed at presenting project objectives and share experiences of urban-rural cooperation from other EU regions, but also to initiate and boost a discussion concerning mutual cooperation between rural municipalities in KMA & the core city. URMA partners met in Florence the end of February 2013 for a 2-day meeting, providing an insight of urban-rural cooperation in Florence Metropolitan Area. The two days gave all partners the opportunity to discuss about differences between examples that were already seen. In


October 2013 another study visit & interregional workshop took place in Milan, Italy. The tour included a visit to Porta Nuova Urban Transformation, the Parco delle Risaie, the Villa Litta as well as a presentation on EXPO territorial projects. The workshop highlighted the manifold aspects of urban-rural development in Milan region. Especially important for highly urbanized areas as Milan is the preservation of agricultural areas. In January 2014, the next Study Visit was organised in Pleven Region which highlighted that on the one hand Pleven is rather rural to the Capital of Sofia, while on the other hand Pleven´s surrounding rural areas are the hinterland to the core city of Pleven. Moreover, a regional stakeholder conference in Hamburg, a workshop on Northern German-Danish Cooperation & study visit to good practice cooperation projects in Metropolitan Region Hamburg took place in June 2013.The last Study Visit took place in Twente region (June 2014) focusing on the Pilot

Implementation and the aspect of regional food as means for innovation & regional growth. Activities with regard to the pilot implementations continued in Hamburg, Milano & Twente Region. Finally, after three years of intensive co-operation, the URMA-partners presented their results on 7th October 2014 at the Open Days in Brussels. In addition, the conference "Urban-rural cooperation as an instrument of territorial cohesion" was held on November 6, 2014 in Szczecin. The main aim of the conference was to sum up the activities of West Pomerania in the URMA project. Reports summarizing the events can be found on the project website. The project participated in several external events and published a newsletter on a regular basis.Further, all project outputs (URMA-approach, Concise dictionary, Interim Report on Pilots, Implementation plans for each partner region, Good Practice Guide, Final Publication, Final Pilot Implementation Report, Recommendations) are available for download.


Institution, Town Country Region Contact details
HafenCity University Hamburg, Hamburg GERMANY Hamburg +49 40 42827 4519
State Ministry of Urban Development and Environment, Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Hamburg GERMANY Hamburg +49 42840 8094
Westpomeranian Voivodeship, Szczecin POLAND Zachodniopomorskie +48 91 432 49 70
TUSCANY REGION, FIRENZE ITALY Toscana +39 055 4384 994
LOMBARDIA REGION, Milan ITALY Lombardia +39 02 6765 4333
Department for Town Planning and Territorial Strategies Madrid, Madrid SPAIN Comunidad de Madrid + 34 915804400
Institute of Urban Development Krakow, Kraków POLAND Malopolskie +48 12 634 23 22 ext: 21
Municipality of Borne, Borne NETHERLANDS Overijssel +31 547351505
Pleven Regional Administration, Pleven (Bulgaria) BULGARIA Severozapaden +35 9 64 880 123
Municipality of Enschede, Enschede NETHERLANDS Overijssel +3153-4815205


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